Explosive third inning leads to baseball win


By Hannah Saad

Cody Estremera, Sports Editor

In the first two innings of Alabama baseball’s 8-0 win against North Alabama, the Crimson Tide had chances to break a scoreless tie but failed to score. It had bases loaded in the first inning, while runners on the corners in the second.

That trend didn’t continue in the third.

Left fielder Keith Holcombe started the inning with a double to left field. Two pitches later, right fielder Tyler Gentry laced a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence.

After back-to-back singles, designated hitter Gene Wood stepped into the box. He battled off a couple pitches before pulling the pitch to right field, scoring a run.

“It started out slow this season, but it was a nice breath of fresh air to get the first hit,” Wood said. “I just started relaxing out there. I had been kind of pressing, being injured last year and just wanting to do well this year.”

It was his first hit of the season. He came into the game hitless in 11 at bats.

“That’s the sport of baseball,” Wood said. “It’s a failure sport, but you got to go to the park with the same attitude every day with the confidence you have.”

A balk brought in the fourth run of the inning, moving Wood to second. After a walk to Kobe Morris, shortstop Kolby Robinson singled through the middle, bringing in a run. Brett Auerbach’s sac fly was the last run to cross the plate in the inning.

Alabama added runs in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Holcombe was hit by a pitch with bases loaded, while Wood knocked in his second run of the game with a single to right field.

For the second-straight Tuesday, Wil Freeman started on the mound. He went four innings and allowed just one hit while striking out four.

“My slider was working best,” Freeman said. “I started kind of late with my fastball locating. I thought my slider was there the whole game.”

Alabama used four relievers to finish the game.

Kyle Cameron threw two innings, allowing just one walk while striking out three Lions. Brock Guffey, Deacon Medders and Jeremy Randolph each threw an inning, combining for eight strike outs while allowing just three base runners.

“We pitched well, but I know everyone that pitched tonight can make another step in the way the command the ball,” Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said.

Overall, the pitching staff struck out 15 batters.

Alabama and UNA will rematch on Wednesday at 3 p.m.